Florida Gov. Rick Scott touted his job creation accomplishments Thursday, saying those numbers matter more than a recent poll that showed he’d lose a re-election matchup against former governor Charlie Crist.
A day before President Barack Obama visits PortMiami, Scott was in town and sat down for an interview with NBC 6.
“We’ve had the second-biggest drop in unemployment – almost 300,000 private sector jobs,” Scott said of his tenure as governor.
When he came into office more than two years ago, the unemployment rate was 11.1 percent. But his promise was to add 700,000 jobs in seven years. Scott said he’s confident that’s still doable.
“Oh, absolutely. We were already at a little over 282,000 jobs in 26 months, so we’re way ahead right now of where we need to be,” he said.
The president will highlight the success of the port project Friday, but the governor questions whether the visit will come with a reimbursement to state taxpayers.
“What I’ve asked is (if) he would give us the federal money that they should have spent on the Port of Miami,” Scott said. “As you know, Florida taxpayers had to put up the money to dredge the port. That was supposed to be federal money.”
He added, “But I’m sure he’s going to brag about what we’re doing here.”
But no matter what he says he’s doing here and what the unemployment numbers are, that message is apparently getting lost on Floridians. Just last week the Quinnipiac Poll suggested that if the governor’s election were held today, former Republican governor turned Democrat Crist would easily win.
Asked why he thought the poll showed Crist beating him, Scott responded, “The poll that matters is the poll that says how many jobs you would create every month.”
He noted that February’s unemployment numbers will come out on Friday. Scott said he’s hopeful they’ll be good again, pointing out there’s been consistent growth in his time in office.
In the interview Scott also weighed in on a hot button issue in Washington this week: gay marriage. The Supreme Court heard arguments on two cases on the subject in recent days.
Should it be a state issue?
“Florida is a traditional marriage state. In 2008 the voters in our state decided that marriage was between a man and a woman,” Scott said. “That’s what it is in our state, and I imagine that’s what it will continue to be like.”